I have a long and hateful history with sewing machines.

When I was a little girl, my mother made my dresses. They were lovely works of art.

I wanted to be the seamstress my mother was.

When I was about 12, I began sewing simple dresses for my baby sister.

I was not then, am not now, and never will be the seamstress my mother was.

I once put in a zipper both upside-down and backward.

As an adult, I have approached sewing machines with trepidation.

For years I didn’t sew anything that required the use of a machine.

I was afraid of it.

I knew I would never sew again unless I obligated myself to do so.

So, I obligated myself.

I invited my 10-year-old granddaughter, Sparkle, over to make a doll dress.

That forced me to uncover the machine, set it up, and test it.


Sparkle and I made this little dress, and we both felt proud.

No longer does my sewing machine hold me hostage.

I plan to help my seven-year-old granddaughter sew a pillow.

Many of us bow to a fear of something.

Several years ago, I prepared a dinner and took it to a friend who had recently lost his wife.

I instructed him to microwave the food when he was ready to eat it.

“I can’t use the microwave,” he said. “Peggy used it all the time, but I’m afraid of the thing.”

Other people are held hostage by airplanes; deep water; loud, opinionated relatives; elevators; bullies at work; and big life changes.

These things themselves do not make one’s heart palpitate and hands tremble.

It is the fear of them

Fear kept me from my sewing machine for years.

That is what fear does.

It stops us.

Fear of navigating in downtown Indianapolis stops me driving north of Southport Road.

Fear of learning new programs prevents me from fully utilizing my computer.

At one time, I was afraid to speak in front of groups of adults.

I love the English language and relish opportunities to teach it, especially to adult learners.

Muhammad met the mountain when I was offered a position to teach at Indiana Business College in the early 1990s.

My passion for English and my desire to teach came up against my fear of speaking to crowds of adults.

My passion and desire helped me push through my fear.

I taught English grammar and composition to adults for five years.

If I develop enough passion and desire, I will overcome my fear of driving in downtown Indianapolis and of learning new skills on my computer.

When we are afraid of something, we respond in one of three ways:

  • We avoid it. (I don’t have to drive in Indy or learn new computer programs.)
  • We can get someone else to do it. (Thank goodness for friends and family.)
  • We can push past the fear and find a way to do the thing.

Maybe you fear nothing and nobody. If so, good for you.

Most of us don’t live in your world.

If you have a fear that holds you hostage, consider your options.

You have three.



  1. When I have to face my fears I take a deep breath, count to 10 real fast and then just jump in.
    Too old to face Indy traffic again. It is a fear well found.

  2. Debbie, I love that option #3 involves creativity in finding a way to get through it. Call me crazy but doing yard work in a yard with no fence and completely open to the stares of my neighbors induces fear. (Especially because it’s obvious they know what they’re doing and I don’t!) My way to get past it is to include weeding as part of my kids’ summer chores. When they work, I do too. I’m too preoccupied with keeping tabs on the kids and too inundated with complaints the whole time that I forget I’m afraid! 😉

  3. You nailed it! Fear paralyzes. I’ve been there so many times but in retirement of all places, God’s helping me overcome it. Thanks for your common but profound examples and precepts learned from them.

  4. Thank you, Debbie, for these encouraging words. With these words and God’s love, I will choose faith over fear today. Grace & peace, my friend!

  5. Thank you for this post…I have been avoiding something the past couple of days because of fear of failure. Now, I will push myself to choose option #3. (Sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk, or just get a nice, ole’ kick in the pants!) God Bless!

    1. I need swift kicks in the pants almost daily, and you’re much busier than I am! Good luck with overcoming whatever it is fear stops you from accomplishing!

  6. Thank you for sharing, Debbie. Fear is so powerful, it can be downright crippling and take over one’s life. But with God’s grace and the blood of Christ, we can overcome.

  7. Good advice, and excellent writing in this piece. For some reason this article reminds me of the Zach Williams song, “Fear is a Liar.” And to me those words hold a lot of truth.

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